Thirty years have passed since he left this world, since the sea stole him. Long years of nights and days of wishing I had not encouraged him to go.
I remember where I was, what I was doing and what I was wearing when I heard the news that rocked my world and stole my breath. That fateful Friday evening. I hoped against hope throughout that night but in the early hours of the Saturday he came to say his final goodbye, and I knew he was gone.
Nearly a two month wait for his body to be recovered, one of the last to be brought home. Trapped in the capsized vessel.
The enduring image of those nightmare days and weeks of waiting for the news that his body had been found and would be brought ashore is that of the ship lying stranded on its side, nets over the hold doors to try to keep the sea from carrying away the contents of the car deck.
He is never far from my thoughts, but this year he has been more evident. Images of him, smiling and tanned (he was always tanned), his voice, his laugh, the sound of his bundle of keys jangling: always an advance warning that he was not far. This year I have felt the need to visit places he and I explored.
He was my lover, and my greatest friend. I miss him still, but no longer with the agonising ache of the early years. No longer with the same intense grief. Now the feeling is more one of sadness and regret, that he was taken too soon, that we never got to do and see the things and places we had planned. That the mistakes and errors that led to his death and the other 192 lives still continue to this day.
I am no longer unhappy without him. But I do still miss him. He will be forever in my heart.